Quickies: Unethical Clinical Trials, the History of Caffeine, and Erica Jong Apologizes to Monica Lewinsky

  • Defending Darwin – “I teach human evolution at the University of Kentucky. There are some students I’ll never reach.”
  • A Virus In Your Mouth Helps Fight The Flu – “Young people infected with a type of herpes virus have a better immune response to the flu vaccine than those not infected, scientists at Stanford University report Wednesday. In mice, the virus directly stops influenza itself.”
  • The secret history of caffeine: Starbucks science and the back story of everyone’s favorite morning habit – “Caffeine doesn’t give you energy. Here’s the amazing, real story of its discovery — and how it works on your brain.”
  • University of Minnesota Blasted for Deadly Clinical Trial – “But what if a research study is not really aimed at producing genuine scientific knowledge at all? The documents emerging in litigation suggest that pharmaceutical companies are designing, analyzing, and publishing trials primarily as a way of positioning their drugs in the marketplace. This raises a question unconsidered in any current code of research ethics. How much risk to human subjects is justified in a study whose principal aim is to “generate commercially attractive messages?” (Note: content warning for graphic descriptions of a death.)
  • The Weight of the Evidence – “It’s time to stop telling fat people to become thin.”
  • Erica Jong Apologizes to Monica Lewinsky – ” ‘If I ever said anything critical about her, I’m sorry,’ the Fear of Flying novelist told me on Wednesday, ‘because women have a tough time when they get famous for anything sexual. People are cruel, and I’m glad she survived it. It’s a terrible thing to have to survive—and I have far more empathy now.’ “
  • Five images that made March a great month for science – “From oozing mummies to scavenging polar bears, March was a great month for science. Check out the five top images that defined the month’s science news.”

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Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

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  1. I admire James J. Krupa a great deal. He’s fighting in the trenches against the forces of ignorance. I’m amazed that to this day there is even an evolution “controversy.” There’s no controversy, just people whose brains are filled with religious propaganda and ignorant about the evolutionary process. Most people–even ones who aren’t fundamentalists–don’t really understand evolution. So, arguments like, “If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?” make sense to them. I loved his answer to that one, though. If Protestants evolved from Catholics, why are there still Catholics? Their beliefs aren’t based on logic, but at least it gets the concept across.

  2. Mary, you’ll probably think I’m crazy, but that caffeine structure is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

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